• Travel Challenges
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    Orlando, Florida USA (August 2016) Part 1


    My “big” vacation this year was a 8-day, 7-night Carnival cruise around the Caribbean that ported in Port Canaveral, Florida with my family of 18. Cruises, in my opinion, are the best, least stressful option for big group vacationing.. but I enjoy cruises regardless of the number of people going. While the more the merrier mentality goes here, it’s also even better when you have good company (but that’s true for literally any trip or life situation haha). I’ve heard horror stories before where people who originally had flights the morning of embarkation had flights cancelled or delayed or whatever and made them miss boarding the ship. I don’t think it happens frequently, but it does happen and was something to be aware of. Thus, many cruise forums suggested that people who had to fly into port, fly in the day before just incase. For me, it was an excuse to extend my vacation another day so I planned to fly in a day before, and also stay a few days after to make this flight to Orlando really worth it. (The rest of my family flew the first flight into MCO the day of (arrival around 9:30AM) and actually made it onto the ship before I did.) Now I’ve been to Orlando every single year for the past 4 years thanks to my job, so I went to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure twice, and Universal Studios Florida, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios once as an adult. The kid in me didn’t mind going again, especially since the BF hasn’t gone to the newer Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Diagon Alley) in the original Universal Studios yet and I haven’t gone to Epcot as an adult. SO! It was set. “We’re going to Disneyland World (and Universal Studios)!!!” I’ll go into my cruise experience in a later post but for now, here’s my short-version itinerary for the Florida portion:

    Day 1 – Friday

    • LGA -> MCO (6:30AM -> 9:05AM)
    • Pick up car rental at Avis Counter at MCO
    • Drive and check into Four Points by Sheraton Orlando International Drive (3,000 SPG points)
    • Walk to Universal Studios Florida
    • Rides
    • Lunch at The Simpsons Fast Food Boulevard (World Expo)
    • Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley
    • Rides
    • Walked to Royal Pacific Hotel to eat dinner at Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
    • Took ferry back to Universal Studios
    • Watch parade and go on one more ride

    Day 2 – Saturday

    • Check out of Four Points
    • Drive to Cape Canaveral to drop off Avis car rental
    • Cool Avis manager says we can keep the car for a few more hours without extra charge
    • Eat breakfast at Simply Delicious Cafe & Bakery
    • Walk around Ron Jon Surf Shop and Cocoa Beach
    • Return car at Avis and take free shuttle to Port Canaveral

    Day 2 (Saturday) to Day 10 (Sunday)

    • #CaribbeanCruiselife (to be written about in later post)

    Day 10 – Sunday

    • Cruise ship disembarkation at 8:30AM, free shuttle to Avis Car Rental
    • Drove to Lake Buena Vista and returned car at Avis
    • Walked to Disney Springs to find free bus to Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel (10,000 SPG points)
    • Checked in to hotel
    • Took bus to Magic Kingdom Park from hotel
    • Ate lunch at Casey’s Corner (Main Street, U.S.A.)
    • Rides
    • Waffle break at Sleepy Hollow (Liberty Square)
    • Rides
    • Took bus to Disney Springs
    • Dinner at Earl of Sandwich
    • Walked around Disney Springs

    Day 11 – Monday

    • Took Friendship boat to Epcot
    • Breakfast at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie (France)
    • Oh you know, just roamin’ the world
    • Taco Break at La Cantina De San Angel (Mexico)
    • More world explorin’
    • Rides
    • Dinner at Kringla Bakeri Og Kafe (Norway)
    • Watch Chinese acrobats perform (China)
    • Watch Illuminations/Fireworks show (watched in Italy)

    Day 12 – Tuesday

    • Check out hotel
    • Uber to MCO airport
    • Lunch at Panda Express (really the only thing I crave for in airports)

    I’m going to break this into separate posts per day / theme park and hopefully remember to link it back to this post for easy access. Looking forward to sharing more details on this trip!

    xoxo Eileen

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